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Property Disputes During Divorce

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The end of a marriage is never easy to experience, with divorce routinely cited among the most highly stressful life events we can go through. To make matters worse, one of the most common disputes covered by family law is over the assets held by a couple, particularly any properties they share, such as their family home. This often becomes a painful issue following a divorce or separation, particularly if either party has been married more than once. These disputes can be complex and difficult to deal with, not least because they come at a time when everybody involved is experiencing some level of emotional turmoil.

An Uncertain Time

The uncertainty of the way ahead can make matters worse. Will the family home be sold and profits divided between you? Will one party buy out the other so that they can remain in the property? There are many options that need to be weighed up before embarking upon a particular course of action. It is important to remember that if you are married, both parties have a right to a share in the family home regardless as to the name on the deeds. How much that share might be, however, is not set in stone and will be among the issues to be resolved when you separate.

Welfare of any Children

For property disputes during divorce in England and Wales, the law states that the first consideration of a settlement must be the welfare of any children involved. This applies equally in divorce or separation cases and will be of prime importance in the outcome of any property dispute. But clearly, real issues still face a divorcing couple as they will both need to rehouse themselves and certain steps are available to help.

Mesher and Meyer Orders

Firstly, a Mesher Order is a postponement of the sale of a property for a period of time because children are involved. They allow one spouse and the children to remain in the family home until the date the Courts have decided upon. Both parties' names remain on the deeds throughout this period and the ‘triggering event’ for sale may be when the youngest child turns 18 or completes their secondary, or tertiary education, for example. A Martin Order is also a postponement of the sale, but it is often used when the couple in question have no children under 18. Mesher and Martin Orders are best seen as a measure of last resort because the courts prefer to sever financial ties between divorcing couples immediately, to avoid storing up problems for the future.

Impact for Years to Come

Donna Goodsell says it is important that you obtain expert legal advice to explore all your options. Finances after divorce can impact the rest of your life, so it is vital to know what you are getting into with any course of action. An experienced family lawyer will give a realistic assessment of how much you can expect from a settlement and what difference a Mesher Order or Martin Order might make. The welfare of children is always considered however,  the Court is guided by a notion of fairness and the impact of the outcome on all parties. Property disputes during divorce can be such a complicated area of the law; it is essential to be properly advised.

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